2-4 cups fresh basil, with stems removed
You can add in small amounts of other greens like Dandelion and Watercress as desired, to taste. Experiment. Have fun with the flavors.
2-4 cloves garlic, to taste. Whole, fresh garlic is best, but chopped will do in a pinch
¼ – ½ cup nuts. Pine nuts are traditional, but you can substitute or add walnuts, pecans, etc. for different taste sensations and pairings.
¼ – ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese. Pecorino and Romano are also tasty when added into the mix.
½ cup extra virgin olive oil, or similar. Avocado, algae, walnut oils are all good additions to mix in or act as substitutes.
Salt and Pepper to taste (1/4tsp or thereabouts is a good start for both).
Firstly, Local, Organic, Fresh, In-Season produce is always, always preferred. If you're going to fuel your body, you may as well put in high test. Check you local farmers market for ideas and sources.
Begin by adding the basil/greens, garlic, nuts, and salt and pepper to a large blender or food processor. Pulse a few times to get a good mix, without turning it all into paste. Then, turn on low, and drizzle in the oil until well blended. The cheese is added last, and only blended or pulsed for a second or two.
If you're using big nuts like macadamia or whole walnuts, pulse those alone first. Otherwise they'll stay in larger pieces than you probably want them.
Remove from container, and drizzle onto some pasta. You can use it as is, at room temp, or heat it up a bit first. You may want to stir in a tablespoon or two of water to it to dilute it a little and help it stick to your pasta. You can also use it as a dip for chips and veggies, or spread it on bread. It's delicious any way you go. I use it as a dip for Whisps baked cheese rounds. So, so good like that.
Once you master this rather simple (but delicious) recipe, you can experiment with adding in other flavors and foods. Try blending in half an avocado, or adding some balsamic vinaigrette for some tang. A dash of habernero adds a spicy kick without overpowering it. Substitute feta or chevre for the Parmesan for a creamier pesto. Try adding a little parsley or cilantro for a different taste experience. A handful of fresh raspberries will add a whole new dimension of Wow! to your meal.
Be creative. If it doesn't work out, you just don't make it again. If it does work however, it may become a new family favorite. Cooking should be fun and enjoyable, and experimentation is part of that process.
The recipe I used in the attached picture used a lot of these ideas, in a batch that effectively was about double the basic recipe above: 4 cups basil, about one cup total of various oils, waaay more garlic, etc. Just have fun with it.